acoustic labs multitrack plus
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This section describes all of the details of the Track View Interface. The Track View Interface can be thought of as the main control panel of the Acoustic Labs Multitrack Plus. This interface contains all of the audio that comprises the current project. Up to 24 different audio tracks can be utilized in the Track View Interface. Each track can contain an unlimited number of either Extended Audio Snippets or Loop Based Audio Snippets. For either definitions of these terms please see Section 2: General Audio Recording Terms

Topics
  • The Track Label
  • Navigating Through a Project
  • Track Properties
  • Recording New Audio
  • Changing Project Tempo and Pitch
  • Selecting and Moving Audio Snippets
  • Importing an Audio File to an Audio Track
  • Saving, Exporting and Opening Audio Projects
  • Inserting Audio Projects
  • Cut, Copy, Paste and Delete Audio Snippets
  • Miscellaneous Editing Functions
  • Mixing Down Audio
  • The Track View Popup Menu
  • Quick Keys and Shortcuts




  • The Track Label

    Multitrack Plus Track Label Each of the 24 tracks which make up the Track View Interface has a label as shown in the image to the right. The currently selected audio track will always be highlighted with a golden outline around the track label's border. The track label consists of the track number, an edit box which can be used to contain a description of the track and an icon which defines the type of audio track it is. There are two possible types of audio tracks: Extended Audio Tracks and Loop Based Audio Tracks. Extended Audio tracks are defined by the Multitrack Plus Extended Icon icon and Loop Based Audio Tracks are defined by the Multitrack Plus Loop Icon icon. Tracks defined as Extended Audio Tracks can only contain Extended Audio Snippets and tracks defined as Loop Based Audio Tracks can only contain Loop Based Audio Snippets. For a full definition of these two types of Audio Snippets please see Section 2: General Audio Recording Terms.

    The Track Label also contains four buttons: the "Arm" button, the "Mute" button, the "Solo" button and the "Props" button. The "Arm" button is used for arming a track in order to record to that track. When recording audio to a track, the track must first be armed before it can be recorded to. For more information on the recording process please see Section 5.4: Recording New Audio. The "Mute" and "Solo" buttons are used for playback of audio. If you wish to silence a specific track during playback simply press the "Mute" button for that track. If you'd like to only hear the given track during playback and no other tracks press the "Solo" button. The "Props" button will open the Audio Track Properties dialog box for the given track. All of the aspects of the Audio Track Properties dialog box are explained in the topic below labeled Track Properties.



    Navigating Through a Project

    Whenever playing back audio, recording new audio or importing audio into the Track View Interface it will always be done at the current position of the tracking bar. The current position of the tracking bar is displayed in time units in the edit box labeled "Position:" on the lower toolbar (visual aid item #11). The position of the tracking bar can be changed by clicking the left mouse button on an empty part of the track waveform area (visual aid item #12) or by left clicking on any part of the time bar (visual aid item #17).

    The tracking bar can also be repositioned by using the project position slider (visual aid item #32). The length of the slider represents the entire length of the current audio project. Positioning the slider to the leftmost position will place the tracking bar at the beginning of the project. Placing the slider at the midpoint position will place the tracking bar in the middle of the project. Also, by using the fast-forward (visual aid item #29) and rewind (visual aid item #28) buttons you can easily move the tracking bar to the beginning or the ending position of the project.



    Track Properties

    Multitrack Plus Track Properties By clicking the "Props" button located on the track label (visual aid item #11) the Track Properties dialog box will appear for the corresponding audio track as shown in the image to the right. A number of different settings are listed on this control. At the top is an edit box which contains the track description. This is the same description that is located on the track label. Below the track description are two radio buttons which allow for the selection of the type of audio track this is. There are two different types of audio tracks: Extended Audio Tracks and Loop Based Audio Tracks. Tracks defined as Extended Audio Tracks can only contain Extended Audio Snippets and tracks defined as Loop Based Audio Tracks can only contain Loop Based Audio Snippets. For a full definition of these two types of Audio Snippets please see Section 2: General Audio Recording Terms. To the left of these radio buttons you'll notice the "Convert to Extended" button. This will allow an existing Loop Based Audio Track to be converted to an Extended Audio Track.

    The dropdown select box labeled "Input Device" contains all available audio input devices installed in your system. Whichever device is selected will be used when recording audio to this track. To the right of this track are two radio buttons labeled "Stereo" and "Mono". Use these radio buttons to select between recording in stereo or mono. Below the recording settings are volume settings for the audio track. The horizontal sliders allow you to change the volume level of either channel for the audio track. The edit boxes can be manually changed to modify the audio level of the track. If the "Lock Left and Right Channels" checkbox is checked both channels will be equally modified when adjusting either channel. Also, note the volume levels can be viewed and adjusted as either percentages or in decibel (dB) units by selecting either unit using the dropdown select list. The pitch level controls work very similarly to the volume controls. The pitch of the entire track can be increased or decreased using either the horizontal slider or by manually entering the pitch in the edit box. The units can either be in semitones or as a ratio with respect to 1.0 being no change. These units can be selected using the dropdown select list.



    Recording New Audio

    Multitrack Plus Recording To record new audio to a track first select the "Arm" button of the track you wish to record to (visual aid item #8). Then click the "Rec" button (visual aid item #31). This will immediately bring up the recording dialog box as shown on the right and start the recording process. You'll notice that the recording dialog box keeps track of the amount of audio that has been recorded in both standard time format and tempo format. Also, if the metronome is turned on you will hear the click or beat sound keeping time to the project's current tempo. To turn off the metronome see Section 11: Project and Application Settings. When recording new audio track data you can record up to four stereo tracks simultaneously. You can choose which audio input device you wish to record from by selecting the "Props" button for the corresponding track (visual aid item #11). This will bring up the track properties where you will be able to select the desired audio input device, please see the above topic labeled Track Properties for more information concerning this topic. When you're finished recording simply press the "Stop" button of the recording dialog box. The newly recorded audio will automatically appear on the targeted tracks.



    Changing Project Tempo and Pitch

    The project's tempo and pitch can both easily be altered. The project's tempo can be changed by using the tempo adjustment spin control (visual aid item #14). Using the up and down arrows of this control you can increase or decrease the project's tempo. The tempo is shown in units of beats per minute (BPM) and can range between 50 and 250 beats per minute. The tempo unit can also be manually entered by using the mouse to left click on the tempo edit box (visual aid item #13) and entering in any tempo value you wish. Once you press the "Enter" key the new tempo will be applied.

    The project's pitch can be changed by using the pitch adjustment spin control (visual aid item #16). Using the up and down arrows of this control you can increase or decrease the project's pitch. The pitch value is shown in units of semitones and can range between -12.0 and 12.0 semitones. This pitch unit can also be manually entered by using the mouse to left click on the tempo edit box (visual aid item #15) and entering in any pitch value you wish. Once you press the "Enter" key the new pitch will be applied.



    Selecting and Moving Audio Snippets

    Multitrack Plus Move Snippet Each audio track within the Track View Interface can be made up of either Extended Audio Snippets or Loop Based Audio Snippets. The mouse can easily be used to highlight Audio Snippets and change their position using a typical drag-and-drop technique. First, to select an Audio Snippet simply use the mouse to left click on the Audio Snippet. Once selected the audio snippet will become highlighted as shown in the top image. After an Audio Snippet has been selected, it can be moved within the audio track to the left or right simply by holding the left mouse button down and moving the mouse left or right. When you're happy with the new position of the Audio Snippet simply release the left mouse button.

    Note that you can select multiple snippets at once within a single track. Simply left click as many Audio Snippets as you wish. You can also select multiple snippets by holding down the "Shift" key while selecting a snippet. For example, if you have multiple Audio Snippets in a row you can select the leftmost Audio Snippet and then hold down the "Shift" key and select the rightmost Audio Snippet. All Audio Snippets in between the leftmost and rightmost Audio Snippets will automatically become selected. At anytime you can deselect all selected snippets by clicking the left mouse button on a blank area within the waveform area of any audio track (visual aid item #12).

    You may also use the "Select All Snippets" and "Deselect All Snippets" options located under the "Edit" pulldown menu option (visual aid item #1). This will either mark all Audio Snippets in the currently selected track as highlighted or mark all Audio Snippets in the selected track as not highlighted.



    Importing an Audio File into an Audio Track

    External audio files can be imported into your Acoustic Labs Multitrack Plus project by selecting the "Import Audio File to Track" option from the "File" pulldown menu (visual aid item #1). The Acoustic Labs Multitrack Plus is capable of importing both wave audio files and MP3 audio files. The audio file will always be imported into the currently selected track at the position that the tracking bar is set at. To select a new track simply click on the track label (visual aid item #4). A golden outline surrounds the track label of the currently selected track. To set the position of the tracking bar simply click any blank area of the waveform area of the Track View (visual aid item #12) or use the Project Position Slider (visual aid item #32).



    Saving, Exporting and Opening Audio Projects

    Audio projects can be saved by accessing the "Save" feature located in the "File" pulldown menu option (visual aid item #1) while in any three of the interfaces. This will save your current audio project as an MTP (Multitrack Plus) file. Saving your project as an MTP file preserves the project as it currently exists - no tracks are mixed down, all applied effects and levels are saved and all audio loops contained in the Loop Bank will be kept intact. At anytime you can re-open this file to access the project and continue work on it by selecting the "Open" feature located under the "File" pulldown menu option.

    To save the project as an audio file select the "Export Project as Audio File" option from the "File" pulldown menu or select the "Mixdown to Wave File" or "Mixdown to MP3 File" options located under the "Mixdown" menu option. All of these menu options are available from the Track View Interface. Selecting any one of these options will allow you to save your project as either a wave or MP3 file. Saving your project in this manner will create a single audio file that sounds exactly the same as when you play your audio project from the Track View Interface.

    In addition to opening MTP files, which is the native file format for the Acoustic Labs Multitrack Plus, MIX files created by the Acoustic Labs Multitrack Plus v3.0 and greater can also be opened by the Acoustic Labs Multitrack Plus. Select the "Open" option from the "File" pulldown menu system (visual aid item #1) then select the MIX file you wish to open. The audio tracks, descriptions and additional information associated with the project will be imported into a new Acoustic Labs Multitrack Plus project.



    Inserting Audio Loops

    Multitrack Plus Insert Loop Any audio loop that currently exists in the Loop Bank Interface can be inserted into the project by selecting the "Insert Loop" option from the "Edit" pulldown menu (visual aid item #1) in the Track View Interface as shown in the image to the right. Selecting this option will show a list of all audio loops that exist in the Loop Bank. Simply select whichever loop you wish to insert. The audio loop will always be inserted into the currently selected track at the current project position. Remember that the currently selected track will always be highlighted with a golden outline around the track label. The current project position time will always be indicated in the edit box labeled "Position" on the lower toolbar (visual aid item #26).

    Also, note that audio loops cannot be inserted into audio tracks that contain Extended Audio Snippets. There are two types of audio tracks: Extended Audio Tracks and Loop Based Audio Tracks. Extended Audio Tracks can only contain Extended Audio Snippets and Loop Based Audio Tracks can only contain Loop Based Audio Snippets. If you attempt to insert an Audio Loop into an Extended Audio Track you will receive an error message informing you of this issue.



    Cut, Copy, Paste and Delete Audio Snippets

    Multitrack Plus Edit Menu

    A few of the most common editing features used in the Track View Interface of the Acoustic Labs Multitrack Plus are the cut, copy, paste and delete operations. The cut operation will remove any highlighted Audio Snippets from the Track View Interface. To learn more about highlighting/selecting Audio Snippets please see the above topic labeled Selecting and Moving Audio Snippets. Whenever performing a cut operation any highlighted Audio Snippets will be removed from the current project and placed on the Audio Snippet Clipboard. The Audio Snippet Clipboard is explained in more detail below. To perform the cut operation, select the "Cut" option from the "Edit" pull down menu as shown to the right. After selecting this option you will notice that any highlighted Audio Snippets are removed and placed on the Audio Snippet Clipboard.

    The copy feature can be used to copy any highlighted Audio Snippets to the Audio Snippet Clipboard. The steps involved in copying Audio Snippets is very similar to that of the cut operation described above. The only difference is that the highlighted Audio Snippets are not removed from the project, they are simply placed on the Audio Snippet Clipboard. By highlighting one or more Audio Snippets and selecting the "Copy" option from the "Edit" pulldown menu the highlighted Audio Snippets will be copied to the Audio Snippet Clipboard.

    The Audio Snippet Clipboard holds one or more Audio Snippets from the audio project in which the previous cut or copy operation was performed. When you initially start the Acoustic Labs Multitrack Plus the Audio Snippet Clipboard will be blank. At anytime you can paste the contents of the Audio Snippet Clipboard to any track at any position by using the "Paste" option from the "Edit" pulldown menu. The paste operation will insert the clipboard audio at the current position of the tracking bar of the currently selected track. For more information on the tracking bar, please see the above topic labeled Navigating Through a Project. When pasting Audio Snippets, keep in mind that they can be overlapped. When playing back your audio project, the top most Audio Snippet is played back and any Audio Snippets underneath will not be played back. To position one Audio Snippet on top of another Audio Snippet, click the right mouse button on an Audio Snippet and select "Place Snippet on Top".

    The delete feature works very similar to that of the cut operation except that the highlighted Audio Snippets are not placed on the Audio Snippet Clipboard. To perform a delete operation, first highlight any Audio Snippets you wish to delete and then select the "Delete" option from the "Edit" pulldown menu. After selecting this option any highlighted Audio Snippets are automatically removed.



    Miscellaneous Editing Functions

    Multitrack Plus Edit Menu As you'll notice in the image to the right, there are a few other editing features located on the "Edit" pulldown menu. These are the "Clear Selected Track", "Shift All Snippets" and "Join Selected Snippets" features. The "Clear Selected Track" feature is useful when you want to remove all audio data and track information for an audio track. This operation will not only remove any Audio Snippets that exist within the audio track but it will also remove any description of the track and reset volume and pitch levels back to normal settings.

    The "Shift All Snippets" feature will allow for all Audio Snippets in any or all audio tracks to be shifted to the right by the given amount of time. Once you select this option from the "Edit" pulldown menu a dialog box will appear that allows you to select as many audio tracks as you wish and enter in a time unit in either a standard time format or a tempo time format. After clicking "OK" you will see all audio data for selected tracks shifted by the amount of time entered.

    The "Join Selected Snippets" feature will allow you to combine multiple Audio Snippets into a single Audio Snippet. Simply use the mouse to select all audio snippets you wish to join together and then select this option. For more information on selecting Audio Snippets please see the above topic labeled Selecting and Moving Audio Snippets. After selecting this operation all selected Audio Snippets will be joined together. Any empty space that existed before the Audio Snippets were joined together will be converted into silence.



    Mixing Down Audio

    Multitrack Plus Mixdown As you'll notice in the image to the right, under the "Mixdown" pulldown menu there are the following three options: "Mixdown to Track", "Mixdown to Wave File" and "Mixdown to MP3 File". These options will combine multiple tracks of audio into one single track or audio file. Please see Section 2: General Audio Recording Terms for a complete definition of mixing down audio. When selecting the "Mixdown to Track" option a dialog box will appear that allows you to select which tracks you wish to mixdown and the target track for the mixed down audio to be placed in. After making your selections simply press the "OK" button and the Mixdown operation will be performed.

    Using the "Mixdown to Wave File" or "Mixdown to MP3 File" options you can easily mixdown the entire project to a Wave or MP3 file. These options are no different than using the "Export Project to an Audio File" option located under the "File" pulldown menu and saving the project as a Wave or MP3 file. Performing any of these operation will convert the entire project to a single audio file which you can easily burn to a CD, transfer via email or to an iPod or similar device. Keep in mind that performing this operation is not exactly the same as saving your project in its current form. Mixing down will mix all tracks together into one single audio track. To preserve your project like it currently exists make sure you save the project as an "MTP" file. This is explained in detail in Section 4: Getting Start with the Acoustic Labs Multitrack Plus.



    The Track View Popup Menu

    Multitrack Plus Popup Menu When using the Track View Interface, at anytime you can click the right mouse button on the waveform area (visual aid item #12) to display one of the two Track View Popup Menus as shown to the right. Both of these menus contain the basic editing features described above, however, the lower popup menu shows the following additional options: "Edit Snippet", "Set Snippet on Top" and "Snippet Properties". The lower popup menu will be displayed anytime you click on an Audio Snippet. For a more in depth description of audio snippets please see Section 2: General Audio Recording Terms.

    The "Edit Snippet" option will automatically load the selected audio snippet into the Audio Editor Interface of the Acoustic Labs Multitrack Plus. From there you will be able to perform precise editing on the audio snippet as described in Section 7, Section 8 and Section 9 of this Manual. If there are two overlapping audio snippets in the track, clicking on one of the audio snippets and selecting the "Set Snippet on Top" option will place the selected audio snippet on top of the other audio snippet. Whichever snippet is on top is what will be used when playing back audio. The "Snippet Properties" option will open a dialog box containing basic information concerning the audio snippet.



    Quick Keys and Shortcuts

    The following keyboard shortcuts can be used to perform the stated action: